Tornado Sirens Could Go Silent

BELOIT--(WIFR) While many of us rely on tornado sirens, they could soon be a thing of the past in parts of the Stateline. Tornado sirens around Wisconsin could one day be replaced by cellphone warnings.That, according to many emergency coordinators. A technology that's cheaper and, potentially, more reliable.

Cellphone alerts are already being used, but only in conjunction with tornado sirens. These wireless emergency alerts were rolled out nationwide last year. The system broadcasts three types of warnings: Alerts for tornadoes and other life-threatening storms; presidential alerts in the case of a national emergency; and amber alerts for missing children.

The downside to the alerts is people without cell phones or older phones don't receive them. An issue some see as a potential problem.

"I think it is a potential problem for the older generation and those who aren't as tied into the digital world.I know there are quite a few people, including me, who don't carry their cell phone with them or don't have cell phones," Beloit resident John Boardman said.

"We live in one of the more densely populated counties in the state so i would think sirens could be potentially effective in places like Beloit and Janesville.There are outer parts of the county that aren't as densely populated and reaching them might not make much sense," Beloit resident Matthew Goodwin said.

Sirens can be expensive to buy and maintain. Typically running into the tens of thousands of dollars.

There are no plans to discontinue sirens in Illinois. In fact Winnebago County has been improving it's system over the past few years and now has the technology to alert people in specific quadrants.

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